Stay positive!

I swear it was Friday & the weekend was upon us only 5 minutes ago!  What happened to the last two days?  Just like that, in what seems like a blink of an eye, it is Monday again. The dreaded alarm clock sounded at 5:30 a.m., our morning routine in full swing, my hubby out the door by 6:30 and my daughter on the school bus one short hour later.  As for me, being a SAHM, I do not always have a set place to be in the mornings.  However, being that I am the ‘coordinator’ of our household as I like to think, I still get up when my husband does, shower, get dressed, do my hair/make up (mostly for myself to feel human) and make sure that things run smoothly (chop! chop!) and everyone is on schedule so things go as efficiently as possible.

Being that it is Monday, my to-do list is full from top to bottom though BUT my sister has off, it’s chilly outside, I’m 32 weeks pregnant and I could use a pick me up. So, I did schedule in a coffee date with my sister this morning that I am very much looking forward to. There is nothing like good company of another adult (especially my lovely sister) when you are a SAHM.  Moments alone with another adult is rare and precious these days.  It’s something I know I took for granted before committing to being a SAHM, but is surely something I cherish these days!  Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom & I enjoy spending as much time with my daughter as I can, but it is not an easy ‘job’ and it can be somewhat cumbersome as well as lonely.  Not to mention, time by myself is healthy.

While my husband is working full time hours and then some most days, I know for a fact he would love to be able to spend more time at home with our daughter. I don’t know if he could ever do what I do, but know he wishes he got the quality time with her like I do on a daily basis (which is my biggest perk as a SAHM).  Although there are both pros and cons to staying at home and also having a full time job, sometimes I envy that he gets perks that I do not being a SAHM.  He gets a paycheck and gets the privilege to provide financially for our family, he gets to use his college degree and have a career, he gets insurance and a retirement plan and on really awesome days he gets to be sent to the Packer vs. Cowboy game where they are also honoring Brett Favre (on October 16th to be more specific)…and of course, spouses are not invited!  There are so many pros of being a SAHM, one of which I already  mentioned.  I will say this again and again, we are blessed to be in the position for me to be able to stay home and I don’t want to take it for granted ever!  Besides getting the privilege of being there for our daughter 24/7 and getting to spend quality time with her every single day, I can set my own schedule, I don’t have to answer to anyone or have job deadlines, I can go on class field trips with my daughter, I can help save our family money in daycare expenses and the list goes on.  However, I don’t get any awesome perks like my husband does that involve paid expense trips to football games (cough, cough-which if you can’t tell I’m very salty about not being able to go with him in October)!

Instead, I have to schedule my own perks, like today making a coffee date and in October using up a gift certificate for a massage, shopping by myself and buying myself something every now and then, or watching a TV show that is not a cartoon when my husband takes our daughter outside or even just listening to the radio (not a vbs CD or childrens cd) or even just driving in silence sometimes can be a perk!  I often wonder what the working world would be like again and sometimes that envy flares up in me for those of you who are working parents and are someone who is labeled something other then “wife” & “mom” and “homemaker”.  I’ve been told numerous times that being a SAHM is the best thing I can be doing for our family and my daughter right now and I have plenty of time to work once our kids are grown and to never consider myself ‘just a mom’.  However, it can be hard to listen to this advice when comparisons kick in and worry about the future sets in and when I want to use my brain and talent and skills for something other then for mom stuff!  Then I look at my beautiful child and am once again reminded of how fast the time has gone.  She is 4 now and inching farther and farther away from that little baby I brought home from the hospital in 2012.  I know I don’t regret these years spent with her.  In fact, I cherish every moment with my everything.  Again, I am reminded my feelings are normal and it’s okay to be a mom and still want more for myself…it just may have to be put off a little bit longer and I know very well that timing is everything.  Now just may not be my time.

I ask myself how I can try to find complete happiness and fulfillment in the now when these feelings creep in.  My best advice to myself is that I need to reflect on and savor those everyday moments.  These are the reasons I became a stay at home mom in the first place.  Just like our weekend was over in the blink of an eye-so are these simple moments with our kids.  Moments in time we will never get back and I am so grateful I’ve gotten to be a part of my daughters everyday moments 24/7 since she was born.  This also reminds me that my job as a SAHM is valuable and it is so important.

I talked a little bit in the above paragraph how comparisons can kick in.  I’m human and have wants and I things I like to do and can’t do and see that so and so has everything that I could never have or can do everything and go everywhere I can’t and it seems so unfair.  All I’ve done since my daughter has been born is sacrifice and it seems I miss out at living life to it’s fullest at times BUT if I stop comparing and trying to keep up with everyone else and focus more on my life and what I am doing from day to do I would be happier and have more self esteem about where I’m at in life.

Part of the sacrifice of being a SAHM is the financial side of things.  Basically since I’ve become a SAHM we have struggled financially and have lived pay check to pay check.  Things got significantly harder when we went through the financial burden of funding our entire IVF cycle.  There is little room for anything extra. This can be hard on my husband and I and cause lots of stress and tension for the both of us.  Instead of focusing on having money, I need to realize that each month we make it to a new month we should be proud of ourselves that we did it.  Although it’s hard now, I need to keep reminding myself that we will one day get our head above water and maybe even be able to take a vacation or have extra-extra spending money.  Saying it’s hard now is an understatement and it surely takes its toll-but we have so many things to be grateful for and at the end of each day material things do not matter, especially when we have our health, our basic needs met and each other.  Enjoyment doesn’t have to cost money.  Happiness doesn’t have to cost money.

Since I was in high school, it was stressed to me the importance of goal setting.  As a SAHM, I feel more valuable if I have daily goals that I set and that I can accomplish on a regular basis.  These goals don’t have to be big or extravagant as accomplishing even the most simple goal can be satifsying.  By having a set goal in mind and then accomplishing it I will continue to feel worthy and I will continue to thrive as a person.  We all want to feel like we are worthy and thriving.  Working outside the home or not, this is something we can all do!

Yet another tip I can give is that I have found that when my husband and now my daughter walks out the door in the morning and I’m left behind so to speak is that other relationships are important.  I feel like some may picture me jumping for joy the minute I have some time to myself, but truth is when the door shuts-loneliness can easily creep in.  This is why, like today, scheduling time with other adults that I have meaningful relationships with is so important to my overall well being.

Another thing important for my overall well being is keeping and maintaining a grateful heart.  This could be something as simple as keeping a journal about the things in each day that you are grateful for.  When you write things down and are aware of the good in each day, it helps you focus less on some of those “blah” feelings that can so easily creep in when you feel like you are not enough.  I can guarantee you that even on your worst day there is something in your day that was good.  It’s so much easier to focus on the bad and that is why so many of us become depressed or are always seeking more.

A big part of why I do feel “blah” is the fact that being 32 weeks pregnant, it’s gotten harder for me to exercise.  I know for a fact that exercise is a must for me and helps with my depression.  Exercise can be as little as 30 minutes a day and can can be the most important 30 minutes of your day.  Not only does exercise help with depression but it could be a time to help as an outlet for stress, used as a time for social interaction if you belong to a gym or take an exercise class.  It also just feels good to sweat and can make you feel accomplished.  Sometimes the best thing to do when you feel you are tired is exercise.  I know from a fact that when I’ve been tired and push myself to work out, I get that little boost of energy I need to keep me going and it also typically boosts my mood!

Lastly, and something I would love to do more of is to volunteer, donate, listen to a friend, do an act of kindness, give more compliments to others, reach out and help a neighbor, etc!  This can give your heart a great “high” and allows you to be selfless instead of selfish. Even though we are struggling, there are always people who have it worse.  Even though I may be having a bad day, someone out there also is having a bad day.  This type of selflessness can give you a sense of accomplishment and can be very fulfilling!

Time goes by fast people-I hear it all the time and live the feeling myself.  It can be so easy to get caught up in the downward feelings of not feeling like what you are doing is enough, or comparing yourself to others, or wanting more, and taking little things for granted.  I’m guilty of this very thing.  However,this is why it’s so important to make each day count and live the life you are given to the fullest as best as you can.  We are all different.  We all live differently.  We all have different qualities that make us unique.  We all have something to offer big or small or somewhere in between.  We are all valuable.  We are all enough.  When life feels like it’s passing you by try to remember that there is a timing for everything, but it’s what you do with this second…this minute…this hour…this day that counts!  Make the most of it because we are only given this one life and it seems, especially lately, time is just flashing before my eyes.  Remember, happiness comes in all forms & your happiness is not to be compared to someone else.  It’s my hope you can find happiness in each day and that’s a goal I have even for myself. Even on the days when you feel the unfairness of life creep in and on the days you feel you are not enough or on the days that went by all to fast, focus on the good of each day and the things you DID accomplish.  You are surviving.  You are enough and in this moment you are doing the best you can!  Don’t blink-or you may miss some of those amazingly, rare simple moments in your life.  You may also miss your awesomeness and how much your awesomeness means to the world, your peers, your family and your friends !

Today, I’m going to simply look in the mirror, smile, take a deep breath and say, “Girl, you are more then enough, keep on keeping on.”

 

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Chronic back pain and pregnancy

Ungrateful for this pregnancy, I am not.  Human, I am.  I have tried so hard to keep my minor aches and pains of this pregnancy to myself.  I think I had it in my head that by complaining about anything pregnancy related would make me seem selfish or thankless for finally being in these shoes, shoes that I’ve waited to be in for so long.  I did really well not complaining about anything up until the last couple of months. Now I’ve hit my threshold and the pain is at a constant 10.  It is so hard to hide something that completely changes my whole demeanor.  I truly hate the person I am with chronic pain because I find myself snapping at others more easily, it makes me feel “lazy”, and it makes me feel like it has taken over my everyday.  Things that I can typically do with ease, I can no longer do without wincing because it hurts.  As pathetic as it sounds, this includes just simply doing the laundry, putting dishes away, making the bed, going for a walk, sitting for long periods of time, sleeping at night, etc.  I’ve been told to “just rest” but the pain is there and even is felt while sitting.  I kind of have to laugh a bit because I can compare the advice others try to give me who have never experienced chronic pain to the advice people would give us when I said we were having a difficult time getting pregnant-these people mean well and are trying to be helpful but rest is not going to cure what is going on with my back, just as not stressing over it was not going to get me pregnant!

Chronic back pain is not only very excruciating, but it is incredibly frustrating to live with daily and it is exhausting both mentally and physically on me.  This pain is not new to me, rather it is something I have dealt with since the 4th grade.  My pregnancy with E was rather difficult in the last months due to back pain as well. I ended up doing physical therapy with her and this time around I am doing what I learned in PT at home and also started going to the chiropractor.  I am proud to say that I managed it well the last couple of years with lots of self care, knowing when enough is enough, and also by being diligent about doing stretches and exercising frequently.  I can only hope that after this baby is born that I can get myself back in that routine and get my back to a more tolerable pain again.  There were bad days, but more good then bad when I was able to manage the pain at home.

Being pregnant and having chronic back pain is a different ballgame altogether. The things I could do to manage the pain at home and keep the pain at a tolerable level I can no longer do because of my big belly and the extra weight I carry is a huge culprit to the pain. The pain is also constant so like I said, even minor everyday tasks are just very difficult for me (if you could only see my dirty house right now, you would see only one of the things I’ve been neglecting to be able to do lately).  I was fully aware that going into this journey, that when I got pregnant I would more then likely deal with this type of pain again.  It didn’t stop me though because I know it will all be worth it once I’m holding our beautiful baby girl in my arms!

        

 

 

A year!

It’s a rainy, soggy & chilly morning here in Eastern Wisconsin.  It seemed to be a perfect Saturday morning to sleep in since sleep has been lacking for me lately, but instead our daughter decided it was time to get up at 6:30 am and that was the end of an extended Saturday slumber.  Although I woke up earlier then I had planned the morning still has that lazy feel to it so what better way to start the day then to reflect on how far we’ve come in this infertility and now pregnancy journey.  It was a year ago yesterday (9-9-15) that we embarked the first step in our journey with IVF with our initial consult with our doctor about IVF and today we are 30 weeks pregnant!  We’ve really come a long way and I couldn’t be more excited that we will be parents to another little girl come November 20th!

It’s really surreal thinking about how far we have come in this journey and all that we’ve gone through to get to where we are today.  I remember some parts like it were just yesterday, and other parts are a complete blur.  Honestly though, there are things I never want to forget about this process and there are things I do want to forget.  One thing I will never forget is the emotions that were going through my head during our very first consult to meet our IVF Doctor.  It was a very overwhelming, scary, exciting, anxious time that was filled with hopeful expectations.  During our consult we were only given about a 10% change of conceiving on our own and we were told that IVF was our best bet to make a baby at that point-I remember feeling both crushed and hopeful.  It’s just so hard to believe that it’s been a year from that date already.  It’s a time in our life I will never forget.

Skipping a lot of time and emotions in between, that brings us to now.  I am happy and so relieved to say that we are 30 weeks pregnant as of today.  We have 10 weeks to go (give or take) until we can welcome this long-awaited and loved so much already new bundle of love to our lives and our family.    We have waited for what feels like an eternity to meet this little girl and I am so excited.  Secondary infertility rocked our world and challenged us daily in more then one way.  I am thankful for our struggles, although at times my struggles made me feel incredibly heartbroken.  Our faith was tested and someway, somehow we came out above the water.  I am so thankful our journey is getting a happy ending. I know how truly lucky we are!